In Part 3 of this series, I broke down Jamie Cumming’s career at Chelsea and discussed what his future in football looks like. For those who haven’t read the introductory piece to this series, a different player will be the subject of a new article every day. I began with goalkeepers and am currently in the process of working my way up the pitch, with each position group being sorted in order by the way in which they appear on the club’s website.
As I continue on with the loan army series, I begin the deep dive into the defensive loanees with Juan Castillo. Castillo is perhaps a name a lot of Blues fans are unfamiliar with and it’s not only because he’s incredibly young. The Dutch defender hasn’t been at the club anywhere near as long as the trio I’ve already profiled in this series. No worries though, we’re going to cover all of the bases and get into the details of his young career.
What does Juan Castillo’s Chelsea career look like?
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- The next man up for Chelsea: Left back Ian Maatsen
- The next man up for Chelsea: Center forward Mason Burstow
As mentioned above, Castillo’s career in blue has been brief. Born in Amsterdam in January of 2000, the Dutch footballer spent his youth days bouncing around clubs in The Netherlands. Castillo began his career with AVV Zeeburgia in his hometown before the giants of the Dutch capital scooped him up in 2009. Castillo played for Ajax’s academy for the next seven years all over the pitch as Ajax’s youth captain before he packed his bags and completed his transfer to Chelsea in 2016.
Castillo then played for the Blues’ academy sides for three years where he featured as a winger, midfielder, wingback and left back—where he now plays. He began his Chelsea career as a part of the U18 side. Castillo worked himself into the Blues’ starting XI for the 2016/17 campaign, eventually helping his club capture the Youth Cup and U18 Premier League titles. This earned the young left back an occasional place in the developmental side going forward. His progression catapulted him to the U19s during the 2017/18 season where he started all but one game in the UEFA Youth League. The Blues were runners up.
Castillo stayed with this group for the following season, this time playing an even more crucial role. His goal against Montpellier in the round of 16 helped the Blues advance and eventually secure a second consecutive Youth League runner-up title. Castillo’s stellar play saw him sign a new contract with the club in August of 2019, this one being a professional deal. His new deal marked the beginning of the next step in his career, which coincidentally saw him return to his hometown.
Following the inking of his new contract, Castillo departed Chelsea’s developmental team for Ajax’s U21s. He spent 10 months in the Dutch capital, helping his former employers finish fourth in The Netherlands’ second division. The mature performances of the left back caught the attention—to the surprise of nobody—of other Eredivisie sides. Castillo was subsequently dealt back to Amsterdam, this time to AZ Alkmaar, around deadline day of the COVID-delayed summer window in 2020. He enjoyed little success in his time with Alkmaar though, large-in-part due to their triumphs in the Eredivisie. Castillo was relegated to the U21 side for most of the season, but did manage to make one substitute appearance for the third-place side in the Dutch top flight.
As a result of his stalled development, Castillo’s parent club recalled him during the winter transfer window. The Blues had no shortage of suitors, but ended up settling on ADO Den Haag as his next destination. Castillo joined de Ooievaars on a six-month loan and looked to help them escape the relegation zone. Unfortunately, Den Haag’s time in the Eredivisie is running out; nevertheless, Castillo has gotten some good professional experience out of his time with the club. He’s helped keep two clean sheets and played over 750 minutes in the league.
This begs the question: what does Chelsea do with Castillo this summer?
Still just 21, Castillo has a very bright future ahead of him. His positional versatility will serve him well throughout his career. Sadly, that career likely doesn’t involve Chelsea much. Castillo is the perfect candidate for the occasional player who gets stuck in the endless cycle of loans away from the Blues, never quite settling down in one place. Therefore, a permanent move elsewhere would be in his best interest.
Chelsea is set in the left back department for the foreseeable future after a big money summer move for Ben Chilwell. Behind Chilwell in the long-term pecking order is Castillo’s compatriot, Ian Maatsen. Maatsen is younger and more experience than the subject of this article (more on him in a couple of days). For those reasons, Castillo should be sold for a profit before he is able to negotiate with other clubs for free in eight months.
Remember to check back with The Pride of London each and every day as I dive into the largely uncharted world of Chelsea’s famous loan army. Part five’s subject is defender Trevoh Chalobah.